Quirk Testifies in Priest Abuse Trial

The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

April 30, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A man accusing a priest of sexual assault dropped a separate allegation against the same priest, the judge in an internal Catholic church trial testified Monday.

Monsignor Kevin Quirk of Wheeling, a canon lawyer who presided over Brennan’s 2008 church trial, took the stand Monday in the Rev. James Brennan’s criminal priest-abuse trial in Philadelphia.

Quirk, an aide to the Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, detailed allegations that Brennan sexually assaulted a 14-year-old during a 1996 sleepover at the priest’s apartment.

On cross-examination, Quirk said he never delved into the man’s second allegation because the accuser withdrew that complaint. That involved an accusation that Brennan abused the teen – apparently in a garden shed – when he was performing court-ordered community service at the parish.

Defense lawyer William Brennan, who is not related to his client, noted that the jury has heard about priests accused of molesting a dozen boys over many years. But James Brennan was removed quickly after the archdiocese received the complaint in 2006, because of new church guidelines on handling abuse complaints.

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